The ream based out of the capital of the country and owned by the Hyderabad based GMR group have had an up and down existence over the past 6 seasons of the IPL. The Delhi Daredevils reached the semi final/qualifier rounds of the tournament on 3 occasions in 2008, 2009 and 2012 but was knocked out on each of the occasions. Additionally, it must also be added that they were the favourites to win the title in 2009 and 2012 but fluffed their lines on the vital day. In the last edition, they ended at the bottom end of the table which made it a decidedly forgettable experience for all Delhi Daredevils supporters.
Mahela Jayawardene, Manprit Juneja, Ajit Agarkar, Gulam Bodi, Johan Botha, Unmukt Chand, Bharat Chipli, Royston Dias, Chidhambaram Gautam, Kedar Jadhav, Siddharth Kaul, Jeevan Mendis, Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Yogesh Nagar, Sujit Nayak, Pawan Negi, Ashish Nehra, Naman Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Ben Rohrer, Andre Russell, Virender Sehwag, Aristh Singhvi, Roelof van der Merwe, Venugopal Rao, David Warner, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Kevin Pietersen, Jesse Ryder.
A glance through the squad would be enough to give you the impression that it is not a
balanced one and the biggest problem the team often faces is that of selecting the best possible eleven, since their best players are mostly the overseas cricketers. Players like Jayawardene, Pietersen, Warner and Morkel can hurt any opposition but it is also true that T20 is a format that requires the bits and pieces players like Andre Russell and Jeevan Mendis in the side but it is impossible to accommodate in the side, since DD simply do not have the same sort of quality among the Indian contingent. Irfan Pathan was bought for a jaw dropping $1.9 million, back in the players’ auctions in 2011 since the team management thought that he could contribute as an all rounder but things have not panned out that way.
Delhi Daredevils have always had a bit of trouble with the captaincy since the time Virender Sehwag renounced it and handed it over to Mahela Jayawerdene. Needless to say, Jayawerdene is a proven leader at the international level and a top class batsman but due to his presence in the team Delhi Daredevils are often unable to play an explosive batsman like David Warner, who is ideal for T20. Whatever Jayawerdene has been able to achieve with the team has been remarkable since at the end of the day a captain is only as good as his team. In IPL V, the team performed brilliantly when they had the services of Pietersen at the opening slot but the depleted squad that was handed to him in IPL VI was a reason why they performed so poorly.
The strengths of the DD undoubtedly lie in the wealth of batting and fast bowling talent in the squad. Players like Jayawerdene, David Warner, Kevin Pietersen, Virender Sehwag and Morne Morkel can win games on their own, which was witnessed in abundance in the IPL of 2012. The batting firepower is certainly one of the reasons why Delhi Daredevils can never be written off from any contest and in addition to that all those players are seasoned professionals who know how exactly to approach a big game. On the other hand, the pace quartet of Varun Aaron, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan presents different challenges to the opposition batsmen whenever they play together.
Delhi Daredevils never gives the impression of a settled unit and the frequent changes to the playing eleven hurts the cause no doubt but as mentioned above all a lack of classy Indian internationals baring Virender Sehwag has hurt the team badly on many occasions. On Indian pitches, it is necessary to have a good spinner in the side, who should not only be hard to hit but should also be a genuine wicket taking threat. In that regard, DD have sold themselves short with the signings of Botha and van der Merwe since both of them are all rounders without the necessary guile and skill of a top class spinner. In addition to that, it also needs to be pointed out that although there are plenty of Indian cricketers in the squad, what the team actually needs is proven international quality. Next year’s auctions would be a pivotal one for the team and they should make every effort to land a top class spinner and a few of the Team India regulars.
By Soham Samaddar
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